Jalen Rose explains why Kevin Durant isn't on Larry Bird's level right now


Kevin Durant passed Boston Celtics legend Larry Bird on the all-time scoring list Monday night during the Golden State Warriors' win over the Memphis Grizzlies.

The Warriors star told reporters after the game he was "giddy" about passing Bird's scoring mark. The milestone inevitably created the debate of which player you'd rather have on your team, Durant or Bird? This is an impossible question to answer, but one former NBA player is taking Bird's side, at least right now. 

ESPN analyst Jalen Rose, who was coached by Bird on the Indiana Pacers and retired one season before Durant's rookie campaign, explained why he's going with the Celtics great during Tuesday's episode of "Get Up!"

"I'm going Larry Legend at this point in their careers," Rose said. "Here's why. When Larry was in college, he led his team to the Final Four and the (championship game) where they lost to Magic Johnson and Michigan State. As a member of the Boston Celtics, he's the only guy that won three straight MVPs in a league where Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan were present. Also, Larry Bird, though he played with a Big Three (with) Kevin Mchale and (Robert Parish), he and KD have a lot of the same skills. They both can dribble, pass and shoot. They both can knock it down from 3. They both can play from the post. They both did their best to compete defensively.

"But perception is reality, and what’s going to happen with KD as his career progresses, he’s going to put up a lot of stats, but people are going to hold it against him (emotionally) that he joined the Golden State Warriors.

“So when you’re talking about greatest players of all time? Five through 10 on anybody’s list, Larry Bird is going to be mentioned. Kevin Durant isn’t in that category just yet."

It's hard to disagree with much of what Rose says here. Bird was ahead of his time as the first great 3-point shooter in the NBA. He used it as a back-breaker, usually in the fourth quarter when the C's were one clutch shot away from opening up a lead they wouldn't surrender. 

Durant is a phenomenal scorer and one of the top 15 or 20 players in league history, but he's not on Bird's level yet. Bird has three championships and three MVP awards from an era where the Los Angeles Lakers, Detroit Pistons and Philadelphia 76ers produced some of the greatest teams ever assembled. Durant could one day pass Bird, but Larry Legend is on top right now. 

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